Tag Archives: Jeremiah 36

Nowhere to Hide

So Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to the scribe Baruch son of Neriah, and as Jeremiah dictated, Baruch wrote on it all the words of the scroll that Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And many similar words were added to them.
Jeremiah 36:32 (NIV)

Along my life journey I have taken a few willful detours. I chose to leave the path of following Jesus and, instead, struck out on my own way. It was during these detours that I learned the lesson of the prophet Jonah: You can’t actually escape from God because no matter where you run He’s already there. It’s like the lyrics to David’s psalm:

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

In today’s chapter, Jehoiakim the King of Judah is spiritually on the run. Jehoiakim wanted nothing to do with God. He barred the prophet Jeremiah from the temple. He put layers of bureaucracy between himself and the prophet so that he wouldn’t have to listen to Jeremiah’s incessant messages telling the King to turn from his rebellious ways.

And so, Jeremiah dictates God’s message to his servant and scribe, Baruch. He then sends Baruch to jump through all the bureaucratic hoops at the temple. God’s favor appears to be on Baruch as he recites the words of the scroll and his message gets passed up the chain of command until he finally has an audience with the king.

King Jehoiakim’s hard heart, however, was unmoved. As the envoy reads the scroll, King Jehoiakim has each column cut from the scroll and thrown into the fireplace of his chamber. He then tries to have Jeremiah’s servant arrested. So Jeremiah repeats the message to Baruch so that a copy would survive, and he adds a prophetic prediction of the negative consequences Jehoiakim and his royal line will experience because of his willful choice to shun God.

In the quiet this morning I am thinking about King Jehoiakim. He also was experiencing the lesson of Jonah, the same reality I experienced on my rebellious detours on my life journey. You can’t really successfully run from God. No matter where you run, God’s already there. I can harden my heart. I can refuse to listen and willfully ignore the truth, but then I’m just like the child who puts a cardboard box over their head and thinks no one can see him.

 

Chapter-a-Day Jeremiah 36

“Starting right now, I’m going to teach them
Who I am and what I do,
   teach them the meaning of my name, God—’I Am.'” Jeremiah 36:21b (MSG)

I played on the worship team in church yesterday morning. Between our rehearsal and the service, I struck up a conversation with one of the other musicians. We’ve played together a handful of times and have been around one another in church for years, but we really don’t know each other. We struck up a conversation. It was the “get to know you” conversation. He asked about me and what I do. I asked about his family and his background. It was a brief conversation, but a good one. We moved from being around each other into getting to know one another. I’m the richer for it.

It’s easy to forget that God desires a relationship with me. It’s not about being around God, the things of God, or even the people of God. God wants me to know Him personally, and wants me to let myself be known to Him in return. You can live your life being around God and never that step into the “get to know you” conversation.

I can be at church with a guy week after week, play on a worship team with him, hang around the same social circles, and run into him on occasion in the community and still not know him.

God could be that guy.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and luix90